Plaques + Signage – Metal Materials

Thanks for Industrial for allowing us to reproduce this blog post here!

Following on from our previous post, if you’re a customer looking for the best material for your memorial plaque, or a business looking to have safety signage erected onsite, your main question will probably be: “What’s the best durable material to use in my plaques + signage”? With so many options it can be difficult to know what is best to use for your situation. Here we will show you a range of material options, finishes you can expect, and the appropriate uses for them.

We will start with the various metal materials available.


Traditionally, external plaques or memorial plates and smaller corporate signs have been made of brass, stainless steel or gold stainless steel. More recently anodised aluminium has been increasing in popularity. Each have their own unique benefit and usage, as well as how to mark the signs.

Brass is a regular favourite. This is done by either brass casting, where the sign content is created on another machine (such as laser engraving into wood), and then the brass is moulded, or by a brass plaque (say A5 size) being created and then details etched onto the plaque.

Both laser and mechanical engravers are used to create the details on the actual sign / plaque.

The benefits of brass are it’s durability and look and feel, and it’s cons are it tarnishes quite easily.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel, whether in silver or gold, is an extremely durable solution for utilising externally. Stainless Steel comes in various grades (quality), and thicknesses.

A great benefit of Stainless Steel signage is that it won’t tarnish and is extremely durable.

Information can be either laser engraved or mechanically engraved on the material. Fiber marking the information on the material will ensure a greater longevity than using a Co2 laser machine then filling with Cermark or a similar material.

Anodised Aluminium

This material has grown in popularity the last few years given it’s durability, the fact that it’s lightweight and range of colours that are available.

Anodised Aluminium is hard wearing, maintenance-free and adaptable for applications including signs, rating plates, control panel fascias and labels. The quality surface layer will not crack, peel or chip and can be exposed to sunlight with full UV stability.

This material also comes in a range of thicknesses to suit your requirements, and can be either Co2 laser engraved or fiber marked depending on the finish you were after.


AlumaMark® is a specialised aluminium designed to be laser marked using lower power settings, it is ideal for the production of plaques, awards, signs and nameplates. The difference with this material is that using a CO2 laser you can permanently create black graphics, and it’s perfect for photographic reproductions. There will be no metal marking spray, tapes or additional processing required which makes it a cleaner item in both production and for the customer.

With so many different plaques + signage material options made out of metal, it’s a great idea to double check where you will be fixing the sign and making sure it will suit the surroundings, as well as how you are planning to affix it to the area.